Getting to buy some real sea moss can be a headache.
Many people often feel worried about the authenticity of the sea moss they buy and they’re not sure who to trust, where to buy it, or whether it’s real.
In this post, I will dissect the 14 best ways to tell if your sea moss is fake (pool grown) or real (wildcrafted).
So, this is a handy guide on the major things to watch out for before you make your next sea moss order.
This should really save yourself and your health some damage 🙂
Related: 10 Categories of People That Should Never Take Sea Moss
What is the difference between Real and fake Sea Moss?
To put it simply, Real sea moss is golden, dark tan, or purple in color; has thin stems and sea salt but is not extremely salty. While fake sea moss is lighter in color, has thicker stems, and is extremely salty. While real sea moss is wildcrafted in the ocean, fake sea moss is commercially grown in large pool tanks.
While fake sea moss may look similar to real sea moss, it does not have the same nutritional value or health benefits. Fake sea moss is also much cheaper to produce, which is why it is often used as a cheaper alternative to the real thing.
We believe that the artificial conditions in which fake sea moss is grown make it less healthy. So, if you’re looking for the most nutritious type of sea moss, stick with the real stuff.
Related: Can Sea moss make you sick? 14 Side Effects of Sea Moss to Watch Out for
What is Real Sea moss and Fake Sea moss?
For all the benefits sea moss offers, real wildcrafted sea moss offers you the complete 92 minerals out of the 102 our body needs.
Remember, sea moss absorbs most of these minerals from the ocean they grow in. Together with the rocks and other sea creatures in the ocean.
So, when you buy real sea moss, you’re directly getting as much as the 92 minerals it offers.
Pool-grown sea moss on the other hand gives little or less. These are farmed in pool tanks with added salt (mostly table or synthetic salt) versus the real salt the ocean offers. Fake sea moss hardly gives additional minerals that would have been derived from rocks, or even natural sunlight and ocean currents.
When I started my alkaline vegan journey, I didn’t have real knowledge about sea Moss. I bought a whole lot of pool-grown sea moss not until I began to do more research. I’ve seen a few videos of the commercial production process of fake sea Moss in China, and I was baffled at how long I’d probably done more harm than good to my body. So, I switched between brands several times until I found sea moss that was real.
So, during the course of my research coupled with my own personal experiences, below are the best ways to tell fake sea moss from real sea moss
Related: Does Sea Moss Really Give You Energy? Here’s What We Found Out
Video: Sea Moss Farming In the Caribbean
Real Sea moss vs Fake Sea moss
In the beginning, when I had limited knowledge about sea moss, I bought a lot of fake sea moss that made me sick.
Although I knew all the benefits sea moss had, I didn’t know there was a difference in the authenticity that may make all the difference in the nutrition you get.
So, over time, I began to study it and learn the differences between both. The very first remarkable differences I noticed was the color and stem structure.
And then, there were other minor differences I noticed ranging from soaking to usage.
When I began to order real sea moss, I could actually see and feel the difference, not just in looks but also in how my body responded.
In fact, I did some experiments when I tested the salt in fake sea moss against the natural sea salt in real sea moss. Tests from the laboratory confirmed that the fake one indeed had table salt on it, rather than sea salt!
|Property||Real Sea Moss||Fake Sea Moss|
|L Ionic composition||Cl-, |
Salt concentration has a linear relationship to the electrical conductivity of the salt solution.
In other words, the higher the salt concentration, the higher it is able to conduct electricity. So, table salt in fake sea moss contains a much higher conductivity compared to the conductivity of sea salt in real sea moss when tested.
Other tests conducted include salinity, which is a measure of the conductance of electricity through the solution.
Note that since salt ions conduct electricity, conductivity directly linearly correlates with the concentration of the salt in the solution.
Real sea moss salt ion composition was significantly higher too, confirming the lower concentrations of ions in table salt present in fake sea moss.
So, I could imagine the nightmare of realizing this and especially for someone like me struggling with high blood pressure at that time and then taking all those synthetic salt for months. I quit taking sea moss entirely until I figured out what was real.
So, now when I get my sea moss, I am really very picky and sure of where it’s coming from. Sometimes, knowing where you source your sea moss saves you all the headaches.
If you have a good source, you can worry less about its authenticity. Nowadays, I make sure the sea moss I use come from the Caribbean islands.
Related: How is Sea Moss Grown, Harvested and Processed? What You Need to Know
Differences Between Fake and Real Sea moss
Generally, sea moss grown in the wild will appear rugged and rough while that grown in the pool will look silky and smooth. The principles we use to identify wildcrafted herbs almost also apply to sea moss.
From my experience, you will not get the same amount of energy from fake as you would get with real sea moss.
Below is a summary of the key differences to know between real sea moss and fake.
|Real Sea Moss||Fake or Pool Grown Sea Moss|
|Some salt, not overly too much||Have too much salt all over it|
|Haphazard mesh or spongy appearance||Noodlelike appearance|
|Feels dry||Slightly wet|
|Chunky and stringy||Feels slippery|
|Fishy or ocean smell||Chemical smell|
|Slightly Brownish, Dark tan, or Golden||Yellowish or lighter color|
|Thinner stems||Thicker stems|
|Does not thicken after soaking||Thickens after soaking|
|Jelly-like or slimy after soaking||Gummy after soaking|
|A bit of sand from the ocean||No sand|
|Wildcrafted from the ocean||Pool grown|
Related: Different Types of Sea Moss: Gold vs Purple vs Green Seamoss
How to tell Real Sea Moss from Fake
Below are the 14 best ways to tell if your sea moss is fake or real.
Note that these do not hold true 100 percent of the time, but if you do get at least 70% of them right, then it’s enough to confirm its authenticity.
- Darker vs Lighter
While Real sea moss has a darker tone, fake sea moss is lighter. Real sea moss comes in varied species but they generally have a dark shade of golden, dark tan, or purple.
Fake sea moss in contrast is of a lighter shade of color, usually yellowish, off-white, or close shades.
Related: What is Sea Moss Good For?
- Spongy vs Noodlelike
While Real sea moss appears like a sponge, a haphazard or mesh-like structure, fake sea moss appears like regular noodles.
Real sea moss has that web of stems that look so tangled and cluttered. Imagine real sea moss as a giant sponge that absorbs minerals from the soil and water from the ocean.
Pool-grown or fake sea moss on the other hand has a more precise alignment of its stems, something that looks manually or artificially put together, more like machine-packed stems, in a little more defined fashion.
Related: How To Freeze And Defrost Sea Moss Gel
- Thin vs Thick
Real sea moss stems are thinner than the stems of fake sea moss. The stems of real sea moss are typically about 2mm in diameter, which is similar to the size of a wire gauge.
Fake sea moss stems can have thickness double to triple the size of real sea moss – approximately around 4mm to 10mm in diameter.
- Fishy vs Chemical
Real sea moss has a fishy or sea-like smell. But this can be hard or soft depending on the particular specie and where it’s sourced From.
Pool-grown sea moss on the other hand has a synthetic or chemical-like smell to it. It’s almost like the smell you get when you unpack a new Tee shirt (on the mild spectrum of the scale) to smelling horribly and harshly like burnt leather.
Some producers of Pool grown sea moss often go as far as adding seaweed to the sea moss to give it a fake “sea” or fishy smell and give it the impression it came from the ocean.
Related: What is the Best Way to Consume Sea Moss? [Gel, Powder and Pills]
- Sea vs Chemical
Real sea moss has a sea taste to it. Because real sea moss will smell like fish, which tells that it’s from the sea, I often add key lime to it when soaking it to take off the “fishy” smell.
When I first started out, I hated that characteristic “sea” taste, so I decided on a way to add key lime to the sea moss during the 24-hour soak.
By the time I drain and use it, I find out that the smell and taste is all gone.
However, fake sea moss has a chemical or synthetic taste.
- Slightly Salty vs Too Salty
Real sea moss has sea salt on it but doesn’t taste overly salty.
The salt on real sea moss is hardly as visible compared to fake sea moss where it’s almost all covered in salt.
- Dry vs Wet
Real sea moss feels super dried out. Feels a little flaky and without any form of moisture in it.
While fake sea moss feels wet and moistened.
- Chunky Vs Slippery
Real sea moss dryness is closely associated with its “chunkiness”. Real sea moss feels very chunky to touch.
Fake sea moss on its part feels slippery, like you may find it getting a good crisp of its stem compared to how you can hold a real sea moss stem.
- Slimmy vs Gummy
It would help if you watched out for this attribute when you soak the sea moss in water.
Unfortunately, you can’t try this method until you order the sea moss and use and test it.
When you soak real sea moss in tepid warm or cold water, the water turns slimy after a few hours. But when you do the same to fake sea moss, the water either makes no difference or turns gummy.
Related: How Long For Sea Moss to Start Working in Your Body?
- Salt Concentration
Real sea moss has a lower salt concentration than the fake one. In fact, you can hardly notice any salt on the stems of real sea moss, even though they may taste slightly salty.
Fake sea moss on the other hand has salt visible all over it. This salt is usually table salt that is added after farming from the pool tank to mimic the salt from real sea moss.
Pool-grown sea moss contains no salt when grown in the pool. This is one reason they add plain table salt after harvesting so it mimics real sea moss.
But then again, some pool-grown suppliers would rather not even add salt at all after harvest, but that doesn’t make it real.
- Sand, Rocks, and Impurities
Real sea moss has a bit of sand or rock particles that you’ll notice when you shake the sea moss off the pack or when you wash and rinse in water.
But you will best notice the sand settle when you soak the sea moss in a bowl with warm water and strain. You will notice the sand particles settle at the bottom of the bowl as you strain.
Fake sea moss does not or hardly contains any sand, rocks, or debris
To completely remove all traces of sand, you have to soak it for 12 to 18 hours while rinsing occasionally.
So, I do recommend soaking in spring water and adding one or two tablespoons of key lime juice (if you don’t like the fishy smell) spring water and then rinsing continuously to get the sand debris off.
Related: What is Sea Moss Water? [Benefits + How to Make]
Real sea moss is definitely more expensive than fake sea moss. While this is not a definitive way to tell if sea moss is real, I have noticed quite a lot of difference in prices between the cheap, fake sea moss I ordered in the past and real sea moss.
This difference in price can range between $15 to $25 per pound of sea moss. This also applies to the sea Moss gel.
Because it takes a lot more work to get and supply sea moss from the coastal areas of the Caribbean and the islands, it gets more expensive. Fake sea moss is very cheap compared to real sea moss.
While you can get a pound of pool-grown sea moss for between $12 and $15, Real sea moss costs twice or three times as much.
Related: Sea Moss Benefits For Men: 10 Things to Know in 2022
- Area Harvested
Although there are different species of sea moss, which influence the location it is harvested, real sea moss is generally found in areas near the coastal islands.
For example, it’s best to get real sea moss from Jamaica, St. Lucia, The Bahamas, Honduras, and other Caribbean nations.
On the other hand, Fake sea moss is harvested mainly in the East, notably in China, India, and Vietnam.
Sometimes the key to getting real sea moss depends on your source. It is about knowing your source.
Try to get a trusted supplier that you are sure harvests real sea moss because sometimes, it can be really hard to tell.
I have seen fake sea moss that does not have any salt in it, so, what would do in this instance? So, get a trusted supplier.
These are the ones I have used and they do supply real sea moss. But they often run out of stock, so be sure to book ahead.
- Wildcrafted vs Pool Grown
Of course, this point is pretty obvious. This attribute is the whole point or basis of the difference between real sea moss and fake.
Not only is this attribute sacrosanct, but it is also one that makes all the difference between the benefits you’ll get from real sea moss versus fake sea moss.
Related: How to Make Sea moss Gel – Two Ways!
Does Pool Grown Sea Moss Give Any Benefits?
While sea moss can either be grown in the wild (real sea moss) or grown in the pool (considered fake), everything will still depend on how you source it.
So what happens if you don’t have access to the real deal? What benefits does pool-grown sea moss offer to your body?
Because pool-grown sea moss has little or lower nutrition, it’s safe to say it may be more beneficial than nothing in specific situations where you can’t get access to that harvested from the wild.
So, pool-grown sea moss can give benefits to someone who does not have access to real sea moss.
Related: What Happens When You Eat Expired Sea Moss?
What are the Pool Grown Sea moss Benefits?
Too much pool-grown sea moss may harm you. Aside from not having all the proper nutrients a wildcrafted one would have, its added salt content may do more harm than good.
Is Pool Grown Sea moss bad for you?
If you are struggling with high blood pressure, or any related health condition, and can’t tell or source real sea moss, it may be better to stay off sea moss until you’re able to figure out how to source genuine sea moss from a trusted supplier.
This is because pool-grown sea moss may cause more harm than good because of its added table salt content. This type is sea moss with added table salt can increase your blood pressure rather than lower it
Related: Sea Moss Benefits For Women
How often should you drink sea moss?
Take one to two tablespoons of sea moss gel daily. You can use it in juices, teas, smoothies, Irish moss drinks, soups, vegan milk, or as an addition to alkaline water.
Related: Sea Moss and Female Fertility: Does it Help?
Is sea moss actually good for you?
Sea moss is great for you because:
- Sea moss promotes regular thyroid function
- Improves metabolism and boosts energy levels
- Sea moss improves blood circulation
- Sea moss helps expel mucus and improves detoxification
- Filters out germs and other bacteria during blood circulation
- Sea moss boosts immune function – Sea moss is known to have antiviral, antibacterial, anticoagulant, and antimicrobial properties.
- Sea moss promotes digestive health
- Sea moss helps with weight loss as it Suppresses appetite
- Sea moss boosts libido and healthy sexual function
- Sea moss is rich in vitamins and minerals
- Sea moss helps with recovery
- Sea moss promotes hair growth, improves skin and clears acne and other skin problems
- Lowers bad cholesterol with phytosterols
Telling what’s real from a fake can oftentimes be one hell of a task, but these 14 key differences, I bet you’ll be able to detect on your next order.
However, if you find these complicated or overwhelming for you, you can save yourself the stress and order directly from trusted sources.
In this post, I talked about the suppliers I use and how they have proven their mark over time.
So, what are your thoughts on these key ways to tell fake sea moss from real? Please let me know in the comments 🙂
- Real Vs Fake Sea Moss: 14 Ways To Tell Your Sea Moss Is fake
- Can Sea moss make you sick? 14 Side Effects of Sea Moss to Watch Out for
- What is Sea Moss Good For?
- How to Make Sea moss Gel – Two Ways!
- How is Sea Moss Grown, Harvested and Processed? What You Need to Know
- How is Sea Moss Good for your Body?
- Is Sea moss Really Healthy? Signs that Tell Sea moss Could be Bad for You
I’m from South Africa, where can I buy fresh sea moss?
Kerri M. Williams
Unfortunately, I’m not experienced with South African suppliers but you can order online. CGI-green is a brand I recommend
I just ordered some from Atlantic Gold, you recommend them?
Kerri M. Williams
Although I haven’t used that brand, there seem to be quite some good reviews about it. Since you already ordered, you can try and let us know how it goes.
Hello, I got some sea moss from a different supplier and I’m not sure if it’s real or not. It has NO salt on it but its dark. I was told its from St lucia but its not like the St lucia sea moss I usually buy. It has most of the characteristics of real sea moss but it has no salt n no smell.
Kerri M. Williams
One rule of thumb I use most often is to go with your heart. If you think something doesn’t feel right about that sea moss, then follow your intuition. I wouldn’t use it if I’m convinced its not the real deal. Remember, fake or poorly grown/harvested sea moss could do more harm than good. I’ve heard from some people who say they notice their blood pressure increase when they taken certain types or rather, brands of sea moss. Personally, I have never experienced increase in blood pressure when taking sea moss. But of course, everyone is different. I’ll suggest you try various brands until you get the one that works for you.
Sharon Kay Gaught
I recently bought bareorganics Irish sea moss powder from Wal mart. After reading up on Sea moss I found that it says its from pearl moss. It doesn’t give a sourced location or does it say its wild cultured or pool. Please give me brands of real wild. As I’m diabetic, and thyroid and covid survivor that still has inflammation due to lympnodes are over worked. So body is in a still infected state trying to cure the damage a year later. Right now not trusting this brand …I can get other brands and real moss from a local supplier who travels to many US whole food markets and supplement sources. Looking for brands that tell us where it came from and if Atlantic or Bahamas sourced.
Kerri M. Williams
Sorry to learn about your health.
The most important thing is to watch out for and avoid buying Vietnam sourced sea moss. As most of the complaints I receive has links to that. Personally, I source my sea moss from local suppliers in Jamaica but of recent, they’ve been out of stock…but I’ve also used the brand by cgi-green as well as that by alkaline herb shop. You can buy the dried sea moss and make your own gel.
Stay strong and keep positive.
Hello, just reading your blog post for the first time.. As of today August 1st, do you have a recommendation of where I could purchase sea moss? A website? I just came back from Jamaica (4 day trip) and while i was out there, I bought some Sea Moss.. I now have a batch from Antigua and a batch from Jamaica. They both look different. The Antigua batch is dry( little salt at the bottom of bag), a darker tan color, thin noodle type.. the Jamaica batch is lighter in color, thicker in noodle type and alot of salt in the bag(a lot)… I just made a huge container of SM gel from the Jamaica batch, but now I’m wondering if its legit… my wife’s cousin (who lives in Jamaica) went to purchase it for me while I was at the resort in Negril.. In your opinion, do you think it’s good to take?
Kerri M. Williams
I really can’t give clear recommendation unless I see the images of the sea moss. But I’d be wary if it did really contain a lot of salt.
You can order from cgi-green. Or from local suppliers in St. Lucia (I trust St. Lucia sea moss than Jamaica)
Hello Any recommendations on getting rid high blood pressure and overall fatigue ? Thanks! Just ordered sea moss from CGI green / hoping it’s authentic and wild grown! Thanks
Kerri M. Williams
I have a full article on ways to lower high blood pressure and has tons of valuable information. You can check it out here https://alkalineveganlounge.com/eat-this-to-lower-high-blood-pressure-immediately-2/
Hi, have you heard of essential-seamoss.com? Do they have a reputable sea moss to use?
Kerri M. Williams
I haven’t used that brand, so, not sure.
Great information, Thxs, I have bought seamoss from two different companies one from Jamaica the other from St. Lucia, the dark brownish purple one seems legit based on ur comparison but the golden one, is yellow looking flat like noodles bunch together with no salt, I got a bad vibe as soon as I took it out of the package, very disappointed in it, but u learn as u go, and Thxs to u, I am now more informed, peace and blessings sister
Kerri M. Williams
I love that you took the time to explain your opinions and comparing them im new to this myself and this just answered all questions and provided me with all answers thank you so much 😘 😊
Kerri M. Williams